I've just finished the book and wanted to take a look at the responses it's received on amazon. Quite frankly, I'm rather disappointed.
The criticisms of the lower grade reviews for this novel are taken wildly out of context. I was particularly shocked at reading those from someone supposedly from the University of Cambridge whose review was startingly simplistic and manages to misrepresent Sacks's words with real panache, while simultaneously giving the rather meaningless conclusion: "Like all propaganda, readers' reactions to this book will vary widely depending on the extent to which it chimes with their pre-existing states of mind."
Not only could this phrase essentially apply to anything (rendering it pointless), but it is in itself 'propaganda' to view someone's take and expression of beliefs on the universe and personal journey, who provides a beautifully wide variety of sources and opinions on discussions, as intentionally misleading. It is also a falsehood. The tone of the book is not that of a preacher, it is one of a discussion, one that is led by someone who comes across as well-informed, open-minded and appears very well educated. Sacks's voice is one of tolerance, not seclusion. Of encouraging discussion and debate, rather than wishing to silence. That is the antithesis of propaganda.
Within the book, Sacks gives his opinion to why not only science and philosophy can synthesise with religion, but discusses why he views that both are essential components of the human condition. It is a discussion that is articulated brilliantly and it is consistently engaging for the reader. I would thoroughly recommend it, and advise against being misled by people who are actively seeking to demonise what any open-minded person would regard as a brilliantly written work. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.